Report on the School of Congregational Development
by Pastor Sungho Lee
With your prayer and support I have been to the School of Congregational Development. It was a program designed by the General Board of Discipleship and supported by our Conference. From our conference about 25 people went to the school. Rev. Blake Busick and I shared a room.
It gave us four ways to learn. (1) Every day we had worship services. The guest speakers were the top class preachers and the music was fantastic (almost like our church music!). I could feel the compassion for the lost souls and passion for the living God!
(2) We had intensive courses of our choice. I choose the small group ministry because that is the engine for church growth. I could confirm that many things we have done in our church have been in the right track. Our Christ Care Group, Steven Ministry, UMW circles, Good Timers, Thursday Yard Crew, Pinochle, Bridge, and other small groups are doing wonderful job.
(3) We also had a four-session extended class of our choice. I attended with the Rev. Blake Busick to the class, “Grow Church where you are.” The Rev. Brad Kalajainen shared how he has grown his church from the start to the 2,000 membership church. He shared 12 things to do.Pray and fast.  Rediscover your mission field, in other words, your area.  Teach your people to invest in a relationship with non-believers. (Without this part, church growth is gone!)  Teach your people how to invite. If you invite, 50 % will show up. Those who show up, 50% will stay. Those who stay, 25% will be faithful disciples. So, if you invite 20 people a year, 10 people show up, 5 people stay, and 1 person will be a faithful disciple. If 100 members diligently invite people, we will have 100 new faithful disciples every year!  Create an appealing environment. Trustee, when you change anything about your facility try to create an appealing environment!  Make worship relevant! Worship is not for our comfort or for our amusement but for God! Expect non-church people and focus on them.  Build a network of small groups.  Reach out beyond your doors. Knock the doors of your neighbors.  Cultivate a culture of generosity. Preach about giving. Teach them tithe. Celebrate for the offerings. When new roof is done, celebrate it with thanksgiving. Make it easy for them to give. If necessary, put the pre-stamped envelope for them to bring home and mail their offering. Consider on-line giving as an option.  Invest heavily in kids and youth. Increase budget for them. Have a Sunday School even for one kid.  Change the structure as you grow.  Be willing to fight through challenges. There will be devil all the time but God has final move reserved.
(4) Then we had opportunities to visit churches in Nashville. I went to Brentwood UMC and Belmont UMC. Belmont UMC was a multi-ethnic church. It was a Caucasian church and they started ethnic ministry and now it has grown to a multi-ethnic church with 1,000 members. Brentwood UMC is the largest church with 3,000 members. At their service, a youth choir sang hymns and anthem. They have junior high and senior high two youth choirs who sang at the 8:00 AM service on Sundays. They wore robes and pipe organ was used.
I appreciated all the learning opportunities. Thank you for your prayers.